One man, hundreds of hours, and a project that blew up from something small.
The holiday season is full of different social media trends that pop up every other day, but Spotify has become a staple of December discussions thanks to its end-of-year review program called Spotify Wrapped. And while the music service may have popularized the idea, the Super Smash Bros. community got in on the fun for the first time this year thanks to one developer who decided to try and build out a personal project.
If you have seen the colorful purple screens with loads of win percentage and character usage breakdowns from Melee players both big and small over the last several weeks, you have seen Slippi Wrapped.
Over a year ago, one of the top Spanish Melee players, Carlos “Marah” María, discovered an existing project that would let players pull their replay data from Slippi, a mod for the game that enables high-quality online play and a number of other features, and would provide interesting stats about their time playing. But it was pretty technical and didnt allow for easy sharing.
As a personal project to see if he could run a code to clean it up and make it more presentable through a public website, Marah decided to begin working on what would become Slippi Wrapped.
My initial goal was to build a small site for personal use – maybe a few friends of mine would even try it out, Marah told Dot Esports. I think around March I had a very basic first version, which could at least run on my browser, the main issue I was worried about.
Initially, it was only a small project, but at some point, he connected the idea to what Spotify Wrapped is able to accomplish and put a note down on his PC that simply said Melee Year in review. So while his main goal remained on learning about coding, the possibility of the wider community potentially getting something cool out of his work started creeping into his mind as well.
According to Marah, he dedicated hundreds of hours to the project over the last year while working on the replay processor and the website for the project itself. A very rough first version of the completed project was finished in June, alongside initial designs by Marahs partner Omnomnado.
And while that build was done, the final bits of work didnt go into the project until November when he wrote more code, added additional features like shareable links and more slides, and was working on Slippi Wrapped every day after his normal full-time joball leading up to the official launch on Dec. 6.
When Marah pushed the project live, you couldnt go 20 minutes in the Melee community without seeing a new #SlippiWrapped post. Players of all skill levels were sharing their results, showcasing how many games they had played, hours spent in the game, average stats, win rates, and character usage. It even got into specifically breaking down how much a player won neutral and individual actions per minute.
For Marah, even once he expanded the project a bit, he was only really expecting a few people from the Spanish or European Melee scene to use it. Instead, he got iBDW using it live on stream, Hungrybox dropping his stats, and a number of the biggest community figures boosting the projectincluding Fizzi and the team behind Slippi itself.
The next few hours [after launch] were pure chaos for me, seeing the response on Twitter, Reddit, and Discord, checking DMs, helping users I think I stayed up until 5am that day, Marah said. I was so busy I almost didnt have time to properly think about how many people were posting and talking about it. When I woke up and saw how many top players had posted their wraps I just couldnt believe it.
Marah describes his relationship with the global Melee scene as unidirectional due to living in Spain and keeping things localized, but seeing the worldwide response and getting hundreds of users per minute on the site he spent more than a year developing was incredibly memorable.
Not only that, but his previously little project wasnt so little anymore. It had become a community-wide talking point at a time when a lot of discussion around Smash was centered around the sudden cancelation of the Smash World Tour and subsequent drama watch for Nintendo and Panda.
It [eventually] hit me: something I had put a huge amount of work into was no longer a small project of mine, but a relevant part of the community, Marah said. The online discourse the previous days had been all about the Panda, Nintendo, and SWT debacle, and I like to think that Slippi Wrapped played a tiny part in helping everyone recover and look back fondly at 2022.
With the success of Slippi Wrapped in its first year, Marah already has a thousand new ideas for Slippi Wrapped 2023 that include improving the design, adding more animations, and working on cool ways to compare 2022 data to 2023 replays.
He also has some early plans to build upon Slippis new ranked offerings by potentially developing a secondary site that will allow players to check ranked ratings for players based on city, region, and country rankings since Slippis leaderboards currently only showcase the top 50 players.
Outside of coding, Marah is dedicating a lot of time to restoring the local Melee scene in Seville by hosting events and is looking to do the same for Spanish Melee as a whole by putting together tutorials for the game in Spanish to help new players.
I didnt do any of the work for it to be popular, but I was obviously hoping I could offer something new to the community and game I care so much about, Marah said.
If you are interested in any of these projects or even want to potentially help develop them, Marah is actively sharing everything on his Twitter and keeping everyone posted on what is coming next.